By Gingivere the Shadowreaver
Disclaimer: I do not own any character in Soul Calibur II. Talim, Yunsung, Yoshimitsu, Seung Mina, and all other characters are copyrighted to Namco, unless otherwise stated. This story should not be stolen or redistributed, otherwise I'd get upset and cry.
Author's Note: God… this is too darn late…
When Talim saw the sign for the village, she was more than relieved. She had spent most of the time running, hoping to get to the village before nightfall. She seemed lucky and the wind seemed to be more than willing to guide her, as she stood outside the gates, taking only a moment to catch her breath.
Amen to be out of those woods, she thought, giving it another look as she tried to steady her breaths. The darkness seemed to have a lasting hold in there, forever night, and twice as freaky. She couldn't shake the feeling that she wasn't alone in those woods, and it wasn't just the normal woodland creatures.
Now, she turned away from the city, to look at the village ahead of her. Somehow, in its entire primitive outlook in the normal society, it only seemed to be home for her. Still, despite the beauty in it, she tried to ignore that fact, rushing into its open gates and not even waving to the guards that eyed her.
They didn't seem to bothered by her presence, actually, even as they noticed the one elbow blade that she had in her hands. What could a young girl do?
"Hey, it's you, from the forest!"
She stopped, looking up and spotting the man that looked familiar. That's right, he was there from earlier today! He wore bandages on his hands and around his forehead, but otherwise, he seemed alright, as he rushed to greet her. Now she stopped, taking a breather as he approached her, "Thank heavens you're alright…"
Talim gave him a smile, despite the sweat that ran down her face. She dared not open up to him, to let him know how afraid she was in those woods. "I came as fast as I could… tell me, is Yoshimitsu alright?"
"Of course, of course…" The kindly man smiled, as others in the village began to stop and stare. Talim could see their baggy clothing, though they did not bother her too much. But those stares… why did they stare at her like this? Was it her clothing? She couldn't ponder on it for too long, as the man got her attention again, "He collapsed shortly after bringing me here… he's in one of our finest cabins resting right now, though… but he should be fine."
"Oh… thank of Wind Deity then that he got here on time!" Talim proclaimed, falling to her knees as they could not hold her up anymore. Instantly, the man was at her side, and she tried so hard to stand again, only to fail. Was she really that tired?! "I'll be alright… I'm just a little exhausted, sir…"
However, she must have looked really bad, for the man to show such concern. "A little? No, please, let me help you… it's the least I can do!"
"Thierry, who is she?" Someone asked, and the woman scuffled out into the streets, to eye the scene. The minute she laid eyes on Talim, her eyes sparkled, and she rushed to the young Wind Priestess, using her apron to wipe away the sweat and dirt. "Oh dear me, what was a little girl like you doing out in those woods?! Did those thieves hurt you, my dear? Are you hungry?"
How could Talim answer any of these? Even her own MOTHER didn't coddle her like this! She looked up at this woman with big, bright eyes, trying to find where to start. The woman, however, didn't give her a chance, as she was kind enough to help the poor girl to her feet. "Come inside, dearie! We'll clean you up and give you something nice and warm to eat; you're nothing but skin and bones!"
And Talim knew not to decline, yet she wondered how she could even begin to thank her. "T-thank you, ma'am…"
Still, her mind lingered on Yoshimitsu, but she said nothing, merely accepting the offer with as much gratitude as her tired body could muster. Perhaps the world wasn't all that bad… and she smiled, thankful to at least be in a small, welcoming village for once.
"Mind telling me why we're in a bar again?"
Seung Mina almost ignored the question, as she entered without any concern that the restaurant was nearly empty. It was far too early in the day for the usual crowd to be there, she noted, and she was thankful to see several seats and tables still available. She grabbed the closest to the door, taking her seat and waiting for Yunsung to do the same.
The youth just gave her a look, and she sighed, "We're stopping here to eat; it's not just a bar. Now be a good boy and listen to your elders."
"Fine… but it's still wasting time." He took a seat, kicking the chair in his normal, cocky manner and sitting on it before it could fall over. Seung Mina smiled, and Yunsung instantly noticed that, "What?!"
"Just realizing how much I missed your antics at the Dojo, that's all." She replied, that smile almost transfixed onto her own youthful face. Yunsung mentally smiled as well, realizing that he had missed that face as well. But still… he turned away, and Seung Mina instantly saw through it, "We're not wasting time; just resting and getting some food in our body. One should never travel on an empty stomach…"
He just nodded, as he crossed his arms and said nothing until the waiter put down the menus and left again. Yunsung took a glance at it and grimaced, realizing he didn't even recognize the text… "Right."
"Speaking of which, how often do you eat? You look a lot slimmer; could it be that you finally lost all your baby fat?"
"What was that?!" Yunsung glared at her, but she only continued to laugh. Her playful nature seemed to irk him, as he merely folded his hands and looked away and gave a huff. "Immature."
The doorbell chimed, and Yunsung and Seung Mina took a glance at the figure that had walked in. By the look on Seung Mina's face, it was obvious that they both knew each other. Yunsung could not help but stare, a slight smile rising on his face as she stopped, her rather healthy size DD jiggling for a second before pausing like the rest of her body. Her slanted eyes narrowed, as Seung Mina muttered her name, "Taki…"
"Hwang Seung Mina…" The woman named Taki replied, and Yunsung took the moment to remove his eyes from her breasts to look at the rest of her body. She wore a skin tight red suit, an odd design on one leg, though Yunsung didn't care for it too much. Her hair was long, sleek, and black, tied back into a ponytail to keep it off of her obviously Asian face, which when it was not bent with anger, it seemed so perfect. Damn! "I thought you returned home…"
Yes, they obviously knew each other, as Taki stood at their table now, arms crossed, making her boobs more pronounced. It took everything and more for Yunsung to stop staring, but eventually, Seung Mina kicked him from underneath the table, as she spoke to Taki. "Returned and back again… I had to retrieve my friend here."
Taki now noticed Yunsung, as the boy rubbed his shin. She merely rose an eyebrow, then looked back at the red head. "I see he has White Storm with him… is he the one you sent out to retrieve the Sword of Salvation?"
"Technically, no…" Seung Mina smiled, leaning against the palm of her hand as she sent Yunsung a look, to silence him. He hated it, but he obeyed, not really wanting a fight to break out so soon. "But nevertheless, here we are, embarking on, yet, another journey to retrieve it."
Now Taki grinned, and, surprisingly, she sat down to join them. She was very lady-like, despite her tough appearance. "I see… well, you're wasting your time if you think that sword will help you."
Angered, Yunsung growled, slamming his hand on the table and making their cups bounce, though it did not seem to affect the female ninja whatsoever. "I will get that sword, and it WILL help protect my country!"
"Yunsung, shut up."
Seung Mina snapped, and Yunsung reluctantly obeyed. He glared at Taki, though, as she merely kept her smile. Her voice was a lot softer now, as she explained herself, "What I meant to say is that the sword is evil, boy. All those who have touched it have witnessed nothing but insanity and horror… a bright and charming young boy like you would do better fighting in the war with the White Storm than with such a cursed weapon."
Yunsung didn't really know how to take that, so he said nothing, merely crossing his own arms and falling quickly out of love with her. And Seung Mina spoke up, trying to act civilized to make up for the moody behavior of her friend. "Then why are you after it so much?"
"I have my own reasons… but I do not intend to use it against anyone else, if it makes you feel any better." Taki closed her dark eyes, her smile quite rare. She waited until the people around them continued with their conversation, before she spoke up, addressing Yunsung once more. "I couldn't help but eavesdrop on your conversation… I'm here because I heard you speaking of a past encounter with a demon, correct?"
The Korean boy nodded, speaking with slight venom as he thought about it, "Yeah… I ran into two. One was wrapped in bandages and the other was this freakish thing with a weird arm… man, if I ever seen them again, I'll hold nothing back!"
Taki's glare silenced him once more, as she did not wish to draw attention to themselves. "I'm sure you wouldn't… and as well as you shouldn't. I know the first one… his name is Voldo. He's been after the sword for quite some time now…"
"I thought he sounded familiar," Seung Mina proclaimed. "And the second? He sounds awfully familiar too…"
"Which arm, you say, looked odd?" Taki asked, as Yunsung tried to recollect. "And what did it look like? Was it a wooden arm, or was it more monstrous looking?"
Yunsung narrowed his eyes, "Not wooden… but… when I woke up, there was small pieces of wood on the ground. The hand I remembered look like it would have fit on a monster rather than a human being."
It was as if she was waiting to hear that, as Taki nodded, "Nightmare. He has a simple name and a simple purpose… you're lucky to have survived."
"Not… really." Yunsung thought, wanting to say what happened to Talim, but losing his nerves. Taki waited for him to explain himself, and Seung Mina knew what he was going to say, as he backed down. "So that's their names, eh… well, when I find them, they'll be sorry they messed with me."
"Don't get cocky, boy… as I said, you are quite the lucky one to live after an encounter with those two." Taki stated, leaning back in her chair. "Why did they attack you? Did you have something they wanted?"
He shook his head, now deciding to tell her of Talim. "No… but the girl did. Talim… don't think you heard of her, though…"
"No… she's someone I have not bothered to meet. What did she have?"
He shrugged, reaching into his pocket and pulling out the pouch, to see what was inside. When he opened it and shook it a little, a small, black and red shard plopped out on his hand, and the minute he touched it, he could feel a strange aura overcome him, forcing him to drop it on the table. Taki's eyes shot open with a glare, as Seung Mina gasped, "That's a fragment of Soul Edge!"
"A sword of demonic powers… probably the sword that you're after," Taki stated, reaching to grab the shard. However, Yunsung did not allow her to take it, as he quickly swiped it away, holding it close. She glared at him, "It would be best if you didn't mess with that, boy… you don't know what it can do."
Yunsung hissed, "I know what it can do… this stupid little shard is what caused an innocent girl to die! And you want it?!"
Seung Mina spoke up, "Yunsung, don't make a scene!"
"Shut up, Mina!" Yunsung retaliated, regaining some of his old vigor as he sent his glare back to the seemingly calm ninja. "I don't know why a little girl like her would have had this, but those two demons attacked her because of it!"
And Taki, speaking in such a clever form, easily angered the boy. "And though you speak of her as a friend, how is it that you could not protect her?"
Now Yunsung's eyes were lit with fire, but still, Taki seemed unconcerned, if anything, highly amused, as she broke off into laughter. Yunsung instantly rose to his feet, but whether it was lucky for him or for Taki, Seung Mina intervened. "Hey, now that's hitting below the belt…"
"Fine then, I will ask another question, and you must answer me, boy…" Taki's apology was odd, but to Yunsung, this didn't really get him by surprise at all. After all, her race was at war with his… he merely spat, sitting back down but still clinging to the shard and the pouch that had belonged to Talim. "What are you plan on doing with that shard, boy? What use is it to you now?"
The best kind of reply would have been for him to ask the same question, or perhaps to tell her that it was truly none of her business. However, his wits were not with him, and he ran on impulse, and to Seung Mina, and to Taki though she would have never have admitted it, the reply came from his heart. "This shard lured them to her… and it will lure them to me so that I can kill them. After that… I don't know, but I will have my revenge!"
Neither one could deny his reasons, and much to his surprise, neither one of them nagged or belittled him. In fact, Taki's smile seemed more towards him, though perhaps it was her pride that was holding her back. However, she seemed to have lost interests in badgering him, as she nodded and then looked to Seung Mina. "The plan will work… I have a feeling that one of those two is pretty close. I won't take the shard, but I will warn you both to be on your guard…"
"We wouldn't want to be caught otherwise," Seung Mina quickly said, more to entice her into leaving than anything else. She didn't want Yunsung to blow up again, and Taki wasn't going to make things better, though now it seemed a bit calmer. She nodded, as the ninja rose to leave without even ordering a drink or anything. Before she could go, though, Seung Mina stopped her, "Wait, when you were asking about one of the attackers, you mentioned someone with a wooden arm…"
Taki blinked, as if to recall the moment, "Yes… why do you wish to know now?"
As Yunsung seemed to have lost all interests in the conversation, the daughter of Hwang asked, "What about him? Yunsung said he found a few pieces of wood… do you think he was involved?"
"Not much is known about him, some even say he's not even human, but I have heard of him. He's something that I wouldn't want to associate myself with…" Taki stately flatly, as if she didn't care at all. Neither one questioned why, as she finished her explanation before leaving completely. "His name is Yoshimitsu, and he has a wooden arm because he is the only surviving member of the Manji Clan. He, too, is after the Sword, at least the last time I checked."
And with that, she was gone. The two Koreans looked at each other, and Yunsung's expression seemed grave, as he looked down at the horrid shard in his hands. And Seung Mina sighed, picking up the menu and looking at the odd words and trying to make sense of them as well. She hummed to herself, pondering what was yet to come. "Hm… this is certainly getting interesting…"
The ceiling was made completely out of wood, Yoshimitsu noticed, and from the looks of it, it seemed ready to fall apart. He dared not look anywhere else to see how poor this man's family truly was, and of course, a house in itself was a luxury. At least they were very luck to still have that…
He didn't know how long he had been asleep, really… he did see sunlight creeping in through the open window… THAT at least told him it had to be late afternoon. That and the usual pattern of the insects told him that dusk was on its way…
The masked ninja wasn't sure if there was anyone in the room with him, and he could not help but give a relieved sigh. He wondered… if that girl was alright.
And, as his good hand slipped down, to press against the dry bandages, he wondered if he could ever tell her the truth? The wound seemed fine… and it had healed itself faster than he had expected it to. Still, he hated to have to cut himself, to cover up his last mistake. The truth… wasn't something that he thought she could take right now. She been through enough as it was…
Listening to the rather eccentric insects outside was oddly calming to him, as he tried to sleep again. It seemed hard, as he could not get his mind off of current events. Why were Voldo and Nightmare after the girl? What could she possibly have that they would want? And, more importantly, as he finally moved his masked head somehow, to look outside the window, did she still have it?
He knew if she did and she came here… then this village would be in trouble soon. And that meant only one thing…
Rising from the bed, he was surprised how light his head felt, and he feared that he was still wounded, until he noticed his helmet resting on the table next to him. He gave a chuckle, quickly grasping it and placing it on his head, and subconsciously, his hand ventured towards his hip, to grab his sword. When his good hand touched nothing, he sighed, "My sword… idiot."
No sooner had he rose, the door swung open, and, like any normal person would have done, he leapt back into bed, trying to fake sleep. Of course, when he DID this, the man was already halfway inside the building, and he wore a confused, yet bright smile, as Yoshimitsu stared at him. "Sir, are… are you ready to go already?!"
The masked ninja did not blink, or at least the villager couldn't see it, as his red eyes shone brightly. How could he say yes and not feel guilty for it? After all, this man had returned the favor it seemed… sometimes acting as everyone's hero was a little bit of a problem. "As much as I thank you for your hospitality, I must go."
"Sir, won't you at least stay the night? What about your wound?"
Wondering if he would have to cut himself again, Yoshimitsu replied, as he sat up, his smile so welcoming, despite how it was plastered there. "All wounds heal with time, some quicker than others!"
That man, however, was not willing to let him go, as he rushed to Yoshimitsu's side, forcing him to lay down as he went to look at the wound. He had no heart to push his concern away, so he allowed him to undo the bandages to see that there was no wound there… only a scar from what Voldo left a few days before. The man was baffled, as he asked, "Sir… you came here this morning, dripping with blood… how can that be?!"
"Naturally faster healer, if I say so myself! Look at my hand… good as new!" Yoshimitsu joked, giving his wooden arm a pluck and trying to cover up any suspicion. He was lucky, as the man showed nothing but relief, and now, Yoshimitsu tried again to get out of the house, as he sat up again. "Now, if you'd excuse me, I must be on my way!"
"Please! At least stay the night…"
The night? No… he couldn't. He had to find the little girl and get them both as far away from this village as possible. And as much as Yoshimitsu wanted to warn him, he held back… the man wouldn't understand! Yoshimitsu spoke softly now, and his voice was oddly soothing, as he tried to persuade the man otherwise. "A ninja of the night as myself must come and go, so that he leaves no trace. Though criminal it would be to decline such hospitality, one must overcome his own rudeness to do what is right…"
The man just gave him such a look, and he could say nothing. Yoshimitsu was afraid that perhaps he overboard on his poetic side, when they heard the shout of the woman. "Supper is on its way! Thierry, see if would at LEAST stay for supper!"
That little bit of distraction was enough for Yoshimitsu to gain his freedom, and he gave a low screech, spinning fast and disappearing into thin air as the man turned around again. The man was trapped in silence, and he called out the man's name, hoping for an answer. "Wait! How… how am I suppose to repay you? My daughter will live now… how can I even begin to thank you?"
"You can by telling the girl to meet me at the gates before nightfall… farewell!"
"What? What do you mean?" The man heard that voice, but he could not find it, even as he rushed outside. He called out now, hoping that Yoshimitsu heard his call. "Will we ever see you again?!"
Yoshimitsu, however, did not answer, and the odd ninja was several blocks away already, finding a safe haven on top of what looked to be an old church. Now, he could get a good look at the village at least. Yes, it was definitely a poor little village on the outskirts of France… it would explain the man's name, Yoshimitsu figured. As he took a seat on top of the abandoned church, and crossed his legs, to meditate.
France wasn't all that far away from Italy, Yoshimitsu thought, thankful to feel the wind play with his odd clothing. A scheme formulated and strengthened in the back of his mind, one that he had been pondering upon more and more as of late. Vercci's treasure could be obtained…
Letting his thoughts wonder on that topic, he closed his eyes, merely waiting for nightfall to come. Vercci's tomb would have to wait… at least until he was sure this village, as small and poor as it may be, was safe.
"Where are you now, Voldo…??"